Submit Your Idea to the IQ E-Pitch Competition

Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.

A photo of a woman wearing a mask and gesturing toward a computer screen as if she were presenting an idea.

If you have an idea for the next big innovation, app, service, or product, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (CEC) is providing an opportunity for you to pitch it: the Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch Competition (IQ E-Pitch). The competition is university-wide, with anyone from undergraduates to doctoral students being invited to pitch their business ideas to local start-up leaders, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople. 

Graduate students have three categories that they can submit pitches for: graduate, social enterprise, and urban futures. The format for IQ E-Pitch will be similar to this year’s Three Minute Thesis competition, as participants must submit a two-minute video pitching their idea for a new start-up venture to be reviewed by a selection of judges. The 60-80 judges who will be adjudicating the competition come from regional startups and businesses; they are comprised of venture capitalists, retired business executives, entrepreneurs, and more. This competition will be a great opportunity to get your idea in front of them! 

Need help crafting your pitch? The CEC suggests that participants follow the 6 P’s: Presentation, Pain, Premise, People, Proof, and Purpose. Basically, you should be able to succinctly explain what you’re doing, why it’s valuable, and why your team are the best people to accomplish it. Following the 6 P’s will be crucial to each team’s success, because they make up the rubric that judges will use to evaluate pitches. 

The CEC has also crafted a number of helpful documents and video resources that will help you narrow your pitch down to the essential talking points that will make it the most competitive. The 9 C’s are a collection of rules that that are as follows: clear, concise, credible, consistent, conversational, conceptual, concrete, compelling, and customized. Follow these rules of thumb and your pitch will be in good shape. CEC has also prepared the following video that talks through all the aspects of a winning elevator pitch: 

But while all that guidance is great, the idea behind your pitch – and how you present it – is what will win you a share of the $20,000+ being split between the best pitches of the day. Think your idea will be the next big thing? Assemble your team and start putting your pitch video together! Time is of the essence, as video submissions are due on Friday, March 19th by 5 p.m. EST. Judging will take place over the following week and winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 31st at 5 p.m. EST during the virtual awards event (participants will receive more info).

Be sure to check out the videos from last year’s winners to see what types of pitches have been successful in the past (hint: they’re all over the place and the thru-line between them is that they minded their P’s and C’s). 

To apply, fill out the registration form. After filling this out, read the video submission guidelines to ensure that you upload properly.

Check out the rules and FAQ’s webpage for more information about the competition.